Posts Tagged ‘Big Bang Theory’

Universe may be getting more massive rather than expanding

May 25, 2014

Not being Sheldon Cooper I have difficulty with the theory of an Expanding Universe. A finite Universe expanding into an infinite nothingness would be bad enough. But an infinite. ever-expanding Universe becomes incomprehensible. This expansion apparently consists of the scale of space itself expanding, such that galaxies are moving away from each other but where – for some other incomprehensible reasons – this does not apply at less than galactic scale (and certainly not at the scale of the puny earth or our human bodies)!

Skyserver: …. other physicists and mathematicians working on Einstein’s theory of gravity discovered the equations had some solutions that described an expanding universe. In these solutions, the light coming from distant objects would be redshifted as it traveled through the expanding universe. The redshift would increase with increasing distance to the object. ……

When he (Hubble) plotted redshift against relative distance, he found that the redshift of distant galaxies increased as a linear function of their distance. The only explanation for this observation is that the universe was expanding.

Once scientists understood that the universe was expanding, they immediately realized that it would have been smaller in the past. At some point in the past, the entire universe would have been a single point. This point, later called the big bang, was the beginning of the universe as we understand it today.

But now a new paper suggests that the red shift may be due to the Universe increasing in mass rather than expanding.  The Big Bang singularity – says the paper – turns out to be a consequence of choosing “a singular set of field coordinates”But the paper has still to run the gauntlet of peer review.

C. Wetterich, A Universe without expansion, arXiv:1303.6878

We discuss a cosmological model where the universe shrinks rather than expands during the radiation and matter dominated periods. Instead, the Planck mass and all particle masses grow exponentially, with the size of atoms shrinking correspondingly. Only dimensionless ratios as the distance between galaxies divided by the atom radius are observable. Then the cosmological increase of this ratio can also be attributed to shrinking atoms. We present a simple model where the masses of particles arise from a scalar “cosmon” field, similar to the Higgs scalar. The potential of the cosmon is responsible for inflation and the present dark energy. Our model is compatible with all present observations. While the value of the cosmon field increases, the curvature scalar is almost constant during all cosmological epochs. Cosmology has no big bang singularity. There exist other, equivalent choices of field variables for which the universe shows the usual expansion or is static during the radiation or matter dominated epochs. For those “field coordinates“ the big bang is singular. Thus the big bang singularity turns out to be related to a singular choice of field coordinates.

Just as an expanding Universe -in reverse – leads to a Big Bang where some pre-existing mass “explodes” from a zero size, a Universe getting more massive – in reverse – must lead to a an initial mass-less state. Just about as incomprehensible as the Expanding Universe.


But, as Wetterich points out, the characteristic light emitted by atoms is also governed by the masses of the atoms’ elementary particles, and in particular of their electrons. If an atom were to grow in mass, the photons it emits would become more energetic. Because higher energies correspond to higher frequencies, the emission and absorption frequencies would move towards the blue part of the spectrum. Conversely, if the particles were to become lighter, the frequencies would become redshifted.

Because the speed of light is finite, when we look at distant galaxies we are looking backwards in time — seeing them as they would have been when they emitted the light that we observe. If all masses were once lower, and had been constantly increasing, the colours of old galaxies would look redshifted in comparison to current frequencies, and the amount of redshift would be proportionate to their distances from Earth. Thus, the redshift would make galaxies seem to be receding even if they were not.

Work through the maths in this alternative interpretation of redshift, and all of cosmology looks very different. The Universe still expands rapidly during a short-lived period known as inflation. But prior to inflation, according to Wetterich, the Big Bang no longer contains a ‘singularity’ where the density of the Universe would be infinite. Instead, the Big Bang stretches out in the past over an essentially infinite period of time. And the current cosmos could be static, or even beginning to contract.

Cosmology uses real mathematics and is – of course – much more respected than astrology. However the modern invocation of dark energy and dark matter by physicists and cosmologists is quite as magical as the invocation of the aether or of various elixirs by alchemists. In fact even gravity – though calculable and predictable – is just another “magical” term with no proper explanation.


A multiverse model of the Universe from 800 years ago

May 6, 2014

Bishop Robert Grosseteste, detail of a window on the South transept Westernmost. St Paul’s Parish Church, Morton, Near Gainsborough. 1896

Robert Grosseteste (ca. 1168–1253), Bishop of Lincoln from 1235 to 1253, was one of the most prominent and remarkable figures in thirteenth-century English intellectual life. His views on light and matter were some 800 years in advance of his time.

If a single leitmotif runs through Grosseteste’s works, it is that of light. The notion of light occupies a prominent place in Grosseteste’s commentaries on the Bible, in his account of sense perception and the relation of body and soul, in his illuminationist theory of knowledge, in his account of the origin and nature of the physical world, and, of course, in his writings on optics. 


His treatise De Luce (meaning “Concerning Light”), written in 1225, describes a Universe created via a Big Bang-like explosion of light before forming into a series of nine celestial spheres.

Past Horizons:

The Ordered Universe Project, which brings together physicists, psychologists, cosmologists, Latin experts and medieval historians, has been studying the texts of Robert Grosseteste, one-time Bishop of Lincoln. The team created a fresh Latin translation, aided by other experts with knowledge of the medieval mindset and its context, before applying modern mathematical and computational techniques to Grosseteste’s equations. ….

Dr Giles Gasper, the Ordered Universe Project’s Principal Investigator and Associate Director of Durham University’s Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies, said: “De Luce is the earliest known attempt to describe the Universe using a coherent set of physical laws, centuries before Sir Isaac Newton.

“It proposes that the same physics of light and matter, which explain the solidity of ordinary objects, could be applied to the cosmos as a whole. In doing so it also suggests, although this was probably not apparent to Grosseteste at the time, a series of ordered universes reminiscent of the modern “multiverse” concept.

“Grosseteste’s calculations are very consistent and precise. Had he had access to modern calculus and computing methods, he surely would have used them, so that is what the team has done.”

Richard G. Bower, Tom C. B. McLeish, Brian K. Tanner, Hannah E. Smithson , Cecilia Panti, Neil Lewis, Giles E. M. Gasper, A Medieval Multiverse: Mathematical Modelling of the 13th Century Universe of Robert Grosseteste, Royal Society Journal, Proceedings of the Royal Society A, arXiv:1403.0769

Abstract: In his treatise on light, written in about 1225, Robert Grosseteste describes a cosmological model in which the Universe is created in a big-bang like explosion and subsequent condensation. He postulates that the fundamental coupling of light and matter gives rises to the material body of the entire cosmos. Expansion is arrested when matter reaches a minimum density and subsequent emission of light from the outer region leads to compression and rarefaction of the inner bodily mass so as to create nine celestial spheres, with an imperfect residual core. In this paper we reformulate the Latin description in terms of a modern mathematical model. The equations which describe the coupling of light and matter are solved numerically, subject to initial conditions and critical criteria consistent with the text. Formation of a universe with a non-infinite number of perfected spheres is extremely sensitive to the initial conditions, the intensity of the light and the transparency of these spheres. In this “medieval multiverse”, only a small range of opacity and initial density profiles lead to a stable universe with nine perfected spheres. As in current cosmological thinking, the existence of Grosseteste’s universe relies on a very special combination of fundamental parameters.

Space and Distance: Imponderable Questions

June 2, 2010

A return to blogging after a month’s hiatus. Reading about the Big Bang Theory and other imponderable questions.

Does space or distance exist before the expanding universe expands into it?

If there is nothing and no communication and no transmission between two particles or two bodies how can separation between them be defined. Can an undefinable “distance” even exist – let alone increase?

Why should the speed of light be constant and distance the variable rather than distance being constant with a variable speed of light?

Is it not a circular argument to use the Doppler effect and its variation of wavelength – which requires a definition of distance – as the main evidence of an expanding universe defined as increasing separation distance? Is a constant speed of light merely a convenient fiction to make the imponderable tractable?

If a question – whether scientific or religious – is imponderable then why do we ponder them and go to war over them?

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